Archive for the ‘ Golf ’ Category

Could Irish Eyes Smile At Augusta?

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With Tiger Woods withdrawing from next week’s Masters at Augusta, Irish golf fans will be tingling with anticipation. If history is anything to go by, then one of the Irish players will be the first from this country to don the famous green jacket. The last four majors that Tiger didn’t tee it up in were all won by Irishmen. The 2008 British Open was won by our very own Padraig Harrington, he followed this by claiming the PGA title later in the same year. In 2011 Rory McIlroy decimated a tiger-less U.S. Open field and in the same year Darren Clarke ended his major drought with a win at the British Open. With Clarke and McIlroy already in the field for the trip down Magnolia Lane, they both will try and fine tune their games for this years first major by competing in Houston this week. Harrington will be joining them in Texas but knows that only a win will allow him to extend his unbroken run of majors to thirty four, his exemption from his two major wins in 2008 now expired. The other Irishman in the Masters field are Graeme McDowell who is taking a break this from action this week after his exploits representing Europe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week. As the highest ranked of the Irish, Rory McIlroy may have the best chance and he has gained much experience since his Masters back nine collapse in 2011 but McDowell too may have a say. Continue reading

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Golf: Every Dog Has His Day

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Matt Every finished off a 2 under par 70 to claim his first PGA tour win at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational yesterday. The 30 year old started the day four shots behind current Masters champion Adam Scott who was playing just behind him with another major winner Keegan Bradley.

The day belonged to Every obviously but the real news story is Scott’s collapse at the end of a week that he had looked infallible. Scott opened his scoring on Thursday with a course record equalling 62 and by the time play finished on Friday evening, the Australian had managed to open up a seven shot lead over the field, the eventual winner Matt Every was a full nine shots behind the leader at the half way point. Going into the final round, Scott had a three shot lead over his playing partner Keegan Bradley and a four shot lead over Every. Scott although a major champion after winning last year’s Masters at Augusta has shown a major chink in his armour. Continue reading

G-Mac To Represent Ireland In Olympics

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Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell has revealed he expects to play for Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio if he is selected. McDowell represented Ireland in November’s World Cup in Melbourne, ruling out the option of playing for Team GB in Brazil. Jason Day’s final round 70 secured the win for Australia – who had been favourites with Betfair to win the tournament going into the weekend.

Olympic rules state that he could only play for Team GB if three years have passed since representing Ireland. So while athletes born in Northern  Ireland are eligible to represent Great Britain or Ireland at Olympic Games, McDowell has now pledged his allegiance to the Irish in Brazil. Continue reading

Tiger Ready To Rule In 2014

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World number one, Tiger Woods, believes next year’s major venues will give him a superb chance of ending his five-year major championship drought. The 14-time Major winner has returned to the top of the game in 2013 despite not winning a Major, picking up five titles this year, including two World Golf Championships.

While Woods will be the favourite for all four majors with those who bet on golf, there is added reason the American is confident of adding to his 14 major titles next year, with the 37-year-old returning to happy hunting grounds in all four host venues.  Continue reading

Scott Collapses As Els Wins Open

Ernie Els has won the British open by one shot after Adam Scott incredibly collapsed during the last four holes on an incident packed final day. Scott started the day 4 shots ahead of his nearest challenger Graeme McDowell and appeared to be coasting towards the Claret Jug as he held on to the advantage going into the final six holes.

However, the Australian was to bogey every one of the last four holes as he allowed Els to clinch his fourth major championship. The South-African hit a two-under par 68 to claim his second Claret Jug, 10 years after he won his first.

Scott slipped to second place with a disappointing final day round of 75. His remarkable failure to hold his nerve at the four final holes meant that he finished three shots ahead of the next best competitors, Tiger Woods and once leader Brandt Snedeker. Playing alongside Scott was McDowell, but he too had a sub-standard finish to his Open as he also carded a 75 and finished in fifth place.

It had all looked so good for the overnight leader when he sunk a birdie putt on the fourteenth hole, but the 32-year-old Aussie bogeyed the next three holes whereas Els had finished his tournament much stronger with a birdie at the last.

Scott walked onto the 18th tee knowing that a par would force a four-hole play-off, and despite finding a fairway bunker with his drive, he was still in with a chance of finishing level on 7 under, level with Els. Indeed Scott got the chance to save par when he hit his third shot to within eight feet of the hole, but it was not to be for the Australian as he completed his rather spectacular disintegration with yet another bogey.

The Masters – A Battle Ground for Golf and Female Inequality

What is it about The Masters? I don’t know but for some reason that I can’t quite put my finger on, The Masters has me giddy like a kid on Christmas eve for it’s four day duration, sorry, make that five day duration because I even find myself tuning in to the par 3 competition the day before. This day is a fun event for the players, their families and the many old timers who ruled the game of golf for so many years. The camera’s, on this introductory day at Augusta National, focus not on the golf but the many interactions between the families of the players, the spectator’s and the older generation of individuals who are scattered around the course, all of whom are visibly consumed by the spectacle which everyone is apart of.

It was fantastic witnessing greats of the game like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player knock Drives off the first tee today, straight down the middle if you don’t mind. The respect that past champions, men over the age of 70, are greeted with is nothing short of outstanding, a true tip of the hat to the passed generation that have created the platform with which the field of 2012 will get to enjoy. It’s a rarity in these modern times we live, that maturer generations are such an integral part of proceedings. Its not fake either, its a policy of the club to maintain these precious links with past winners, who they know are still so important to the championship’s history and stature. Its testament to the game of golf that these men are not just invited to the fancy dinners and kept away from the cameras because it is these titans of history, the greatest golfers that have played the game, that bring the unique atmosphere to this tournament that everyone enjoys.

Youngsters also get an opportunity to get acquainted with the famous fairways at Augusta National. Young lads are caddying and fixing the scoreboards, kids and grand kids of the players are running around keeping the parents, spectators and officials busy, and the jovial atmosphere appears to be enjoyed by all. Its marketing at its very best. A true self indulgence of middle America, promoting a lifestyle that many of us would aspire to achieve, and executed with military precision by the big broadcasting networks who beam the images and ideology around the globe. There’s a sense of social inclusion that has been eradicated from pretty much all other sports that receive the same type of viewing figures. I certainly cant think of any other sporting event where a warm up day before the big occasion is so relaxed and unconcerned with the usually polished optics of youth obsessed contemporary television, and it is for this reason that it appears to work so well.

So, why then, are women still not allowed to join the famous golf club as members. I don’t get it. There are more women playing and watching the game of golf than there’s ever been historically. The PR team at The Masters must spend months planning this day, right before the tournament starts, portraying the family unit as the backbone of the American conscience and in reality all it proves is the backwardness of thinking in the state of Georgia. Its interesting that today, President Barack Obama, waded into the argument wielding his support for the 150 million female Americans who dare not fill out an application form for the prestigious golf club. It really is time for the smoking jackets and cigars to be laid down Gentlemen, it’s 2012 don’t you know.

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power.  You just take it”.  ~ Roseanne Barr